Painted calipers are something basic for visual car tuning. If you are OK with those rusty brake calipers, you shouldn’t buy and use any cute rims that will expose brake parts too much. Painting the calipers is the first thing you should think of when starting changes in your car. Apparently, many car owners will want to paint these parts by themselves. And one tricky question they face is how long the paint will dry on calipers.
In our today’s article, we’ll discuss the main questions and concerns that may appear when thinking about a caliper. We will recommend the materials and also try to prevent some common mistakes that people make. Also, we’ll talk about the prices of painting brake calipers. But the most important thing is that we’ll figure out the time that you’ll need to wait until the paint dries.
Here are some questions we’ll answer today:
- How long should you wait until you can drive the car after painting your calipers?
- What kind of paint should you choose to do the job by yourself?
- What are the main pros and cons of painting your calipers?
- What common mistakes do people make when they try to make their cars look better?
- When shouldn’t you paint the calipers on your vehicle?
Caliper paint or just high-temp paint?
If you come to a local shop selling automotive paints, you will find a couple of options available for painting your brake calipers. The most obvious thing is the caliper paint. It usually comes in spray cans and it costs a lot. This is the most expensive option you can choose, but for most people, this will be the best one.
Also, the second option is engine paint. It’s slightly worse in terms of lifespan, but it’s still very good. Engine paint is two or three times cheaper than some decent caliper paint. It’s also designed to withstand high temperatures, but the issue may be with sanding and water impact. Also, small stones will hit the caliper sometimes making this paint chip off eventually. But the caliper will ask for repainting no sooner than in a year or two.
Also, you may choose a good high-temperature paint. But be careful with the brand and price. If you choose a cheap option, it will look good until you get to your first puddle when driving. In a week or two, this paint may start chipping off, coloring, getting deep scratches, or just peeling off. It depends on the brand, and only some high-temp paint types are good for calipers. Unfortunately, they usually cost as much as decent caliper paint, so they don’t make sense.
These are three paint types you may consider. Also, you may buy spray paint or just paint in a can for an air gun. If you don’t have any equipment for painting and you don’t want to spend another thousand, then go for spray paint.
How long will the paint dry on brake calipers?
If you get the engine paint for your calipers, it will dry faster. It usually dries in touch in just 20 minutes. In one hour, it’s fully dry and ready for another coat if needed. We recommend at least 3 or 4 coats of engine paint if you use it for your calipers. But in the end, you will need to wait for 24 hours to start using your car again. If you start earlier, it’s likely your paint won’t last too long because it will get scratches right after you drive and it will destroy the protective layers.
If you use caliper paint, things are different. It dries in touch in around 1 hour and it takes around 4 hours to dry completely. So, it’s not recommended to bolt your wheels earlier than 4 hours after you have painted the caliper. Usually, producers recommend driving your car no earlier than 24-28 hours after the final coat is sprayed on.
So, basically, all types of paint for calipers will need to rest for around 24 hours before you can drive your vehicle again. If you drive earlier than that, the chances are that you will scratch the paint and destroy the protection. This will bring rust closer to your calipers, and the rust will then destroy your plans to drive a beautiful car with sporty-looking calipers.
Why at all should you paint the calipers?
We see the only reason for painting brake calipers – it’s visual improvements for your car. If you have or are planning to install new rims with thin spokes that reveal your brake calipers much, it’s really worth your time and money to paint those calipers. The parts of the braking system are made of steel and they rust over time. Your beautiful and expensive rims may look miserable if they are mounted next to rusty brake calipers.
That’s why many car owners start visual changes in their vehicles by painting the calipers. Sometimes you may hear car enthusiasts talking about other pros of having the calipers painted like longer life, no rust damages. But those are just excuses for why they want their calipers to look better. You will not get any functional advantages after painting the calipers – it’s just for the sake of design.
Are there any restrictions for painting brake calipers?
Our subscribers kept asking whether any contraindications exist for painting brake calipers. And we decided to find out by asking specialists. We’ve found out that most of the popular ideas in this sphere are actually myths.
But still, we managed to find out some facts:
- You shouldn’t paint your brake calipers if you want to economize on the procedure as much as you can. Cheap paint will chip off immediately and will make the calipers look even worse.
- Also, don’t paint the calipers if you don’t actually see them. If your rims don’t reveal the calipers, it makes no sense to spend money and time on this.
- Painting calipers isn’t recommended for those who have no experience with spray paints and other materials. You will have to hire a professional that will charge quite a lot in the end.
- Also, you shouldn’t bother with painting the calipers if you aren’t going to make any other changes to your vehicle.
Sometimes it’s easier to buy aluminum brake calipers to make them look better and last for 7 to 10 years. But it will be a bit more expensive than just painting your stock calipers.
Some prices and other figures
If you are going to paint the calipers at home with cheap spray paint, it may cost you around $50, and a day of work, but the results will be too poor. The paint will chip off quickly.
The professional materials will cost around $200 to $500 depending on which kind of paint you choose. And still, you will need to do the job by yourself if your budget is somewhere near $500.
The professional labor for painting your calipers will cost around $400 to $600 depending on the paint shop you choose. So, if you want to have your brake calipers professionally painted, you will pay more than $1000.
Common mistakes people make when painting the calipers
As we are pretty sure that many readers will opt to pay around $500 but not $1000, we decided to dig into the process of painting brake calipers. A lot of bloggers have already told you in some other articles how to paint the calipers, so it doesn’t make much sense to say once again. But we tried to focus on the main mistakes that people make when painting their calipers.
Here are some of them:
- Painting carelessly so that the paint gets to other surfaces. Before painting a brake caliper, you will need to prepare. The best option is to take the brakes apart and paint the caliper separately. The other option is to cover all other surfaces carefully.
- Pads and rotor are covered with paint. Avoid this at all costs! This is dangerous because the caliper paint or engine paint can easily change the way the brake pads work and it can bring to an accident.
- Using simple high-temp paint. This is something every other car owner may face when investigating the prices for paint. They will buy a $50 set for painting their calipers and they will see it peeling off in a month or two.
- Taking apart the caliper without any experience. The brake system in your car is quite complicated. You should have this job done by a mechanic if you want everything to fit back as it should.
Brake calipers are an important part of the car look. We’ve found many guys who hate the way the bright calipers look like. But most people will love it even if the car isn’t that new and beautiful. The painted calipers add some sport to the appearance of your vehicle.
But cheap paint will chip off immediately, so you will have to invest quite a lot in this. A DIY job is not always possible, especially if you don’t have relevant experience as a car mechanic and paint master. So it’s up to you to decide whether you are ready to pay that much to have beautiful wheels.